Powers of President and Congress

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I saw your piece in the Times too on this matter, and wanted to know what your thoughts are on the argument that Reagan's people thought they could force Congress into accepting cuts in (social welfare) spending (along with tax cuts, and yes, increases in military spending).

Yes, it's true that the President proposes and Congress disposes, but surely those who were having "one hell of a party along the way" included democrats who wanted nothing to do with fiscal balance per se, much less see their programs assailed (a la 1996 Welfare Reform). Let me have your thoughts on that.

-- Sophal (Sear@worldbank.org), April 25, 2000



Democratic spending priorities were hammered relatively hard in 1981-1982, when the Republicans had working majorities in both Houses of Congress. Thereafter stasis set in on the spending side.

So I wouldn't say that more was spent on Democratic priorities in the 1980s than had the Republicans followed the policies of, say, an Eisenhower. On the other hand, a lot more was spent on Republican priorities...

-- Brad DeLong (delong@econ.berkeley.edu), April 25, 2000.

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